The End of American Hegemony

This article is part of the "Turning Points 2003" year-end package from The New York Times Syndicate. c.2003 Karel Van Wolferen (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.)

     Amid the appearance of a resurgent, newly aggressive America, the really significant international development of 2003 was the destruction of the conditions that until now had made American hegemony possible. The almost universally accepted dominance of the United States had been the pivot of a relatively stable and peaceful world order, but that order now stands on the verge of disintegration.
     Hegemony implies consent on the part of weaker powers, which enables the dominant power to avoid overt coercion _ the mark of imperialism, from which it must clearly be differentiated. It reveals itself in the dominant country's influence over other countries' world views, particularly in regard to international political and economic relations.

America’s Orwellian War

NYTimes Syndication

     Has anyone else following the aftermath of September 11 been struck by the similarity to Orwell's 1984 – in which a never-ending far-away war against ever changing enemies serves as a rationale for political and social repression? In the past five months numerous Americans, and not a few Europeans, do not dare speak their minds and many more do not dare to think things through to a point where the urge to speak one's mind becomes unbearable.
     There was no genuine war after September 11. There could not have been. And no country, not even one as powerful

Can September 11 Make The United States Serious Again

for President Magazine (Japanese)

     The awful events of September 11 may have jolted the United States into becoming serious again. Its earlier seriousness, with which it rescued political civilization at least twice in the twentieth century, rather quickly dissipated after the end of the Cold War. Because of that savior role, and because of the basic decency of its people, I have always liked the United States. But just before the terrorist attacks I had been planning a series of columns about the necessity for "soft anti-Americanism" (if only to prevent the virulent type that serves no one), prompted by appalling situations in the world the US political elite was helping to create often without the knowledge of most of its citizens.
     The Cold War enforced a world order of considerable stability. For one thing, it kept the United States on its toes.